Ghostbusters movie scene. It takes a nutty scientist to say “Print is dead” in 1984.
Part 1: Radio Onslaught!
Print is dead. Well, not really. I hardly see people buying newspapers in the morning, there are less and less book shops around and as for the music shops they are a rare commodity these days. There has been talks of paper-less society since the late 1970’s, but fear not, paper is not dead yet.
A brief history
Paper was really expensive to be mass-produced until 19th century. Thanks to the Fourdrinier paper making machine, newspapers and magazines started being printed. Print was the only communication method until the arrival of the radio. In 1910, USA when a broadcast station started transmitting in AM frequencies and soon after FM was introduced. Around 1990’s the Satellite Radio was launched and allowed for the first digital broadcasting around North America, Africa and Asia. It didn’t take long until this form of radio was superseded by digital radio.
Internet radio was also introduced much earlier then digital radio, however it relied on the Internet to transmit the signal to its audience. Since 2000, radio stations such Pandora, Spotify or SoundCloud created a much more intuitive way of listening to radio. The new radio stations, allowed the listener to choose a genre of music and the radio station plays musical selections of that genre. The listener would be able skip or repeat the song at any time.
R.I.P. Local Music Shops
The radio didn’t have an impact on the paper industry even when digital radio was introduced, but it can’t be said the same for the arrival of the on-demand radio. In the last 4 years, the on-demand radio expanded from listening and changing stations, to a more interactive platform of communication. The listener was able to buy the preferred song/album or even carry a whole music library with them. On-demand radio stations had impacted the production of Vinyl and CD’s and incidentally put many record shops out of business. The print industry was being affected as well with less CD’s and Vinyl covers being printed.
My.2.Cents: Radio Onslaught!
As soon the car industry will retrofit everyday cars with on-demand radio stations, it won’t be long until we see normal radio stations available on your car stereo as well. Personal stereos as we know them will disappear. The stereos in your home, car or otherwise will have internet connection and your music library will be stored on your HDD or in the cloud. You will have your music library with you all times no matter where you are.
So what does that mean for the future? AM will disappear all together. FM will stay for a little while longer and that will disappear in favour to DAB. DAB before being fully upgraded by DAB+, will be outclassed in a very short time by Internet radio. DRM or DRM+ won’t take off at all, even in small towns/cities. Although on-demand radio is here to stay, I see very few radio stations that would survive the onslaught of what is yet to come. Broadcasting simultaneously in FM, DAB, DAB+ and Internet Broadcasting is not a cheap exercise for any radio station.
The music shops will disappear all-together and yes the local music distributors will be gone too. The future of music is on-demand radios, internet shops and major music distributors. The design industry will need to adapt their focus to multimedia design. If you live in countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore or Romania, you can take advantage of this technology tomorrow due to their fast Internet speeds.
Personally I like the future, I like the idea of on-demand radio music, I like the fact that I would be listening to music in one room, go the kitchen, outside, in the car, at the gym, on the slopes, shopping or going to sleep to the rhythm of my choice. I wonder though with so much music around my life in the future, how would this affect my quiet time?
To be continued next week (part2, Video killed the Radio Star!)…